This report examines the effect of an anti-VLA-4 monoclonal antibody (mAb) HP1/2 on antigen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity to methacholine, and on eosinophil and T lymphocyte infiltration in the airways of guinea pigs sensitized and challenged by aerosolized ovalbumin and used 24 h thereafter. The intravenous administration of 2.5 mg/kg of HP1/2, but not of its isotype-matched mAb 1E6, 1 h before and 4 h after antigen inhalation, markedly inhibited the increased bronchopulmonary responses to intravenous methacholine, as well as airway eosinophilia in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and in bronchial tissue. HP1/2 also suppressed the antigen-induced infiltration of the bronchial wall by CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, identified by immunohistochemical technique using specific mAbs that recognize antigenic epitopes of guinea pig T cells. Treatment with HP1/2 also resulted in a significant increase in the number of blood eosinophils, suggesting that inhibition by anti-VLA-4 mAb of eosinophil recruitment to the alveolar compartment may partially account for their accumulation in the circulation. These findings indicate that eosinophil and lymphocyte adhesion and subsequent infiltration into the guinea pig airways that follow antigen challenge are mediated by VLA-4. Furthermore, concomitant inhibition of antigen-induced bronchial hyperreactivity and of cellular infiltration by anti-VLA-4 mAb suggests a relationship between airway inflammation and modifications in the bronchopulmonary function.

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